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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: E.I. DuPont De Nemours and Company Incorporated in Towanda, Pennsylvania

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Cleanup Status

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made a determination that Monitored Natural Attenuation with Institutional Controls will be the Final Remedy required for the E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company facility located at Patterson Boulevard, Towanda, Pennsylvania (the Facility or DuPont). This is based on our findings as described in the Statement of Basis (SB). In conjunction with the SB, EPA issued a draft Permit Modification under which EPA proposed to implement the Final Remedy.

A notice was published in The Daily Review newspaper on August 11, 2008, detailing the proposed agency decision. Appropriate contacts were provided to receive public comments. EPA received two comments from Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) on September 24, 2008, with amendments provided November 13, 2008, on the proposed decision. Based on the comments provided, the amended comments provided, and the fact that EPA received no other comments from any other source, the remedy proposed was unchanged, and, therefore, selected as the Final Remedy for the Facility.

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Site Description

Interactive map of E.I. DuPont De Nemours & Company Incorporated, Towanda, PA

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The DuPont facility is located on New James Street and Patterson Boulevard in North Towanda Township, Bradford County, Pennsylvania. The DuPont plant occupies a 51-acre parcel of land the northern side of Towanda, Pennsylvania and borders Sugar Creek. This Facility has been operation since the early 1940s and is a manufacturing site for X-ray screens, coated films, and wet-processing solutions.

In these processes DuPont used various chlorinated solvents and methylene chloride. These substances have been found in the groundwater. The Facility is currently under a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) permit for the storage of hazardous waste and a Corrective Action Permit to investigate and define contamination. On the basis of this investigation DuPont has found groundwater contamination in two areas. In one area the groundwater is contaminated with methylene chloride, possible from a storage tank which has been removed. In 1994, DuPont found methylene chloride contaminated groundwater seeping into Sugar Creek and quickly built a system to intercept and treat it. From 1995 to 1996, DuPont recovered 190 pounds of methylene chloride by pumping contaminated groundwater from this area and sending it to the on-site methylene chloride recovery system. In late 1996, DuPont stopped using methylene chloride in their manufacturing processes. Since that time, DuPont shut down the recovery system and is monitoring the contaminated groundwater. The contamination remains on-site and is not spreading.

In the second location, DuPont has been and continues to monitor groundwater contaminated with chlorinated solvents and their breakdown products. The presence of breakdown products shows that natural processes are degrading the solvents. In neither case, is the contamination moving off-site nor posing a threat to human health or the environment.

The groundwater in both areas is closely monitored and is contained on-site. The groundwater does not pose a risk because the groundwater is not used for drinking water and geologic conditions are preventing the plume from expanding. There is also evidence that the plume is degrading due to the action of naturally occurring microbes.

EPA recently worked with DuPont to resolve issues that rose from a PADEP review of the site regarding site characterization. The focus was on verifying that TCE is not migrating from MW-08 in the "Glacial Till" into the "Silt and Sand" aquifer which is used as part of the regional water supply.

DuPont installed two wells to monitor the lower aquifer in the vicinity of MW-08, as requested by EPA. Upon well completion, samples were taken to determine if the capture zone of the pumping well, SW-04, is sufficient to intercept any contamination possibly migrating from the "Glacial Till" layer where MW-08 is located, to verify pathway elimination by the pumping well, and to obtain TCE concentrations in this lower aquifer. Sampling data was finalized and incorporated into the 2nd Half 2006 Interim Remedial Measure Status Report submitted on May 29, 2007. EPA approved the conclusions, including that TCE is not migrating from MW-08 in the "Glacial Till" into the "Silt and Sand" aquifer which is used as part of the regional water supply, on October 11, 2007.

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Contaminants at this Facility

The main contaminants in the groundwater are methylene chloride and other chlorinated solvents.

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

The required Institutional Controls are:

An environmental covenant to be entered pursuant to the Pennsylvania Uniform Environmental Covenants Act, 27 Pa. C.S. Sections 6501-6517, (UECA) and to be recorded with the deed for the Facility property. The Environmental Covenant is required to include the following restrictions:

  • A restriction on the use of groundwater beneath the Facility for potable purposes or any other use that could result in human exposure, unless such use is required by the Final Remedy
  • A restriction on well drilling at the Facility without prior EPA approval, to prevent inadvertent exposure to the contaminated groundwater and adverse affects to the Final Remedy

In the event DuPont intends to sell part or all of the Facility, DuPont will notify EPA and demonstrate that the prospective purchaser is aware of the restrictions described in paragraphs above.

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Land Reuse Information at this Facility

The facility is under continued use.

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Site Responsibility at this Facility

RCRA Corrective Action activities at this facility have been conducted under the direction of EPA Region 3.

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